Jia was my Teaching Assistant in several graduate classes, including a seminar on Narrative: Theory and Experimentation, and Buñuel and Almodóvar: Redefining Spanish Identity and Transnational Melodrama in the Global Sphere. I was not on her doctoral committee, yet I was very aware of the exceptional quality of her work—its brilliance, originality, and trans-disciplinary range. Although I was writing on Spain and she on China, we shared an interest in micro- and macro-regionalism.
Besides being my TA, Jia played a key role in USC’s Global Summer Documentary Workshop, an exchange program with CUC (the Communication University of China) that was founded by Mark Jonathan Harris and me. To help prepare our USC cinema students who were going to Beijing, we hired Jia to give a series of lectures on contemporary Chinese culture and the history of Chinese cinema. As we expected, she did a marvelous job. After completing her doctoral degree at USC, she became an Assistant Professor in the Academy of Film at Hong Kong Baptist University. She is now teaching at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.